Pripyat was worse in the light of day, when a breeze stirred the trees and lent a semblance of animation. Arkady could almost see the long lines of people and the way they must have looked over their shoulders at their apartments and all their possessions, their clothes, televisions, Oriental rugs, the cat at the window. Families must have pulled the reluctant young and pushed the confused elderly and shielded babies from the sun. Ears had to close to the question “Why?” Patience must have been an asset as the doctors handed iodine tablets to every child, too late. Too late because, at the beginning, although everyone saw the fire at Reactor Four, only two kilometres away, the official word was that the radioactive core was undamaged. Children went to school, though they were drawn to the spectacle of helicopters circling the black tower of smoke and fascinated by the green foam covering the streets. Adults recognized the foam as the plant’s protection against an accidental release of radioactive materials. Children waded through the foam, kicked it, packed it into balls. The more suspicious parents called friends outside for Pripyat for news that might have been withheld, but no, they were told that May Day preparations were in full swing in Kiev, Minsk, Moscow. Costumes and banners were finished. Nothing was cancelled. Still, those people with binoculars went to the roofs of their apartment blocks and watched firemen scramble off giant ladders onto the reactor and carry back blocks of indeterminate material, no fireman staying longer than sixty seconds. No one was allowed out of Pripyat except to fight the fire, and those who returned from the plant were dizzy, nauseated, mysteriously tanned. Supermarket stocks of iodine sold out. Children were sent home from school with instructions to shower and ask Mommy to wash their clothes, even though all the city’s water has been diverted to the fire. The news broadcast from Moscow said that there had been an incident at Chernobyl, but measures were being taken and the fire was contained. Finally, no one in Pripyat was allowed outside. Three days passed between the accident and the sudden evacuation of the city. Eleven hundred buses took away the fifty thousand inhabitants. They were told they were going to a resort, to bring casual clothes, documents, family pictures. As the buses departed, loose pictures scattered, and children waved at the dogs running behind.
Martin Cruz Smith
Wolves Eat Dogs
The contract says Queen Rat works for Žižek; the truth is more complicated. The research would have no practical application without her.
Fame, Equipment, Contacts – operating outside the auspices of the Institute means you have to take it all with you.
It’s not a man’s world anymore – Ex is right about that. It’s humans versus the incredibly small things, the incredibly hot things.
Don’t touch the kit.
You’d work with someone else if you could. It’s just that Žižek is the best. It was the same at the Institute of Extremely High Temperatures: you’d find him passed out inside the reactor with an empty bottle of vodka.
Topology is clear: the Zone exhibits new dimensionality.
Professor has his sums right – but only if you discard the Standard Model. Thirteen years after the Visit, we still can’t face up to this.
Yes, you stole from the Institute of Extremely High Temperatures. Everybody did.
White Wheel is stable, Smoking Mirror…
Queen Rat can believe in Many Worlds if she likes: it’s wishful thinking. The universe has absented itself.